Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Camp Clark Cooks I have Known - by “The Guy in the Upper Bunk”

Camp Clark Cooks I Have Known – by “The Guy in the Upper Bunk”

One of the most important people at any summer camp is the cook. All of the various activities at Camp Clark – swimming, hiking, athletics, frog-catching, etc. – made a person pretty hungry. I think most campers would agree that our camp was lucky to have a long string of good, capable cooks over the years, cooks who turned out nutritious and tasty food. Please feel free to comment on and add to the list below if you can and share any stories about the people and goings-on in the mess hall over the years. I’m sure I’ve left out several cooks, including those who labored from 1956 through 1971.

“Ma” (first name unknown) Jennings was the cook in the almost brand new Beaman dining hall when I first arrived. She was a smallish, gray-haired woman with a great sense of humor who turned out delicious and hearty meals. If a former camper named Lou Rodgers reads this, I’m sure he could add reminisces. And. Cliff Jennings, her grandson (?) who was a camper/counselor in the ‘50s would be a great source, too.

In 1945, Mrs. Barbara Johnson arrived for her first summer. She brought along her daughter Lydia and son “Jolly” (Jonathan) and began a fairly long stretch of years in the camp’s kitchen – not consecutive years, but off and on, as she was available. She came from Fairhaven, as I recall, and when necessary would remind folks that the camp was a YM-C-A camp, with the emphasis on the “C”.

The late 1940s or early 50s saw the arrival of Floyd Reed from Amherst, along with his wife and teen-aged daughter, “Frannie” (Frances). A very large man, Mr. Reed cooked for a large fraternity house at UMass during the winters and seemed to enjoy the change of scene at camp in the several summers he turned out truly great meals.

I seem to recall that the wife of brand-new Camp Director Andy Hume started as in 1955, but someone else finished out that summer, which was the last year that I attended.

(Perhaps webmaster Wayne Griffiths can add to this list, since I understand that his Mom took over in the kitchen in mid-season at one point.)

The Guy in the Upper Bunk is right.  Here is the quick version... more to come. My mom did 'volunteer' to fill in when the regular cook left.  I was a worker that summer when the cook left.  I spoke up and told Uncle Bob "my mom can fill in she works in catering". A phone call later and if memory serves me right she managed to pack her stuff and enough stuff for four of my sister and she still made it to camp for the evening meal.  

I will collaborate with Marshall Roper who was also a worker that year and try and expand on the tale. Once again if memory serves me right I remember a water fight between the kitchen and the dish room.  I seem to remember balloons and that it involved aerial attacks from the rafters (that were open at the time).  And I remember passing a fellow dish room worker through the dish washer.  I remember late night raids in the kitchen for evening snacks for the worker's tent.  Marshall ..... ?

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